Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family,

I am very grateful for you all.  I am thankful for the packages I have received, that you are sending me packages, and I am thankful that they do not have Christmas decorations in them...  The seasons do not really change here, so it does not feel like the end of the year.

Oh, wait.... Guess what!!!  Next week I have SIX MONTHS in the mission.  I have heard that after six months, time flies.  Can you even believe it?!  Six months, and I still cannot even speak Spanish.  I only have just over a year to learn it and to try to make a difference!!  Where is time going?

Okay, so this morning, we were supposed to have a baptism of Hermana Jessica U. (Her last name is a monster to spell...)  But, she was kidnapped by her father so she would not get baptized.  What?  Who does that?  But, Jessica is really great, and we are hopping she can still get baptized tomorrow when we have our baptism for Hermano Joel Caiza.  Remember the family Caiza?  Joel is the only one who is ready for baptism, but I know the rest of them will follow.  The little girl in the picture I sent last week, Dominica, she is his little sister.  So, BAPTISM TOMORROW!!! How wonderful, right?! 

AND the Family Bayas has committed to November 17th, so if they stay on track, they will get baptized the same day as our golden investigator, Andy.  Ahhh!!!  Finally, things are starting to get good around here in Iñaquito!!!  The other day, Andy said that he cannot wait until after our missions so we can all hang out and talk because we are the coolest.  Jaja, thank you, seventeen year old boy.  He is so smart, so we have some good conversations.

Let´s see, this week has just flown by, so I don´t have a lot to say. 

Oh, wait.  This week, I was told many times that I had the mouth of a Mexican.  At first, I didn´t like the sound of that.... But they all were referring to my tolerance of spicy food.  They just do not have much flavor down here in little Ecuador, so even a little spice is too much for them.

This week was actually a major turning point in the way I think about my Spanish.  There were times when I would have conversations with people other than my companions, and as I was walking away, I would realize that six months ago, I would never have thought I would ever have been able to do that.  I am really hard on my Spanish, but I am getting by, and it is getting better every day. 

I got a Dearelder from Allison!  It was great to hear about her little family.  There are some sister missionaries going home at the end of this change, like in a week, so I am going to send some letters home with them.  I need to write Blake, Allison, and probably other people.  I am so thankful for all the letters and emails!!  I just am horrible at writing back.

Let´s see, what else?

I did not take any pictures this week... Sorry about that.  But, guess what!  Hermana Morris dyed my hair this morning.  And can I just say that I am never letting anyone with OCD dye my hair ever again?!!  Jaja, I just said that to see if she was reading my email....  Apparently she isn´t.  It looks good. Speaking of Hermana Morris, I finally pickpocketted her without her knowing it.  I was so proud!  I guess I should focus more on spiritual things in my free time.

I love you all so much!!
Tell Chris and Andrea that I am coming to California to stay with them when I get home for a week!!  I am actually really excited that they are moving out there!!

Have a great week!!

¡¡¡Les amo mucho!!!

Hermana Ellis

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This Week in Quito

Hermana Morris, Dominica and Hermana Ellis

Hello Family and Friends!!


I think I have a good computer this time.  Thank goodness.



Okay, let´s start with some important information....  Yesterday, Hermana Morris and I spent the day in the offices, where everyone was expecting "someone important" to come.  Well, two men walk in, and everyone is on their best behavior.  One of them stops for a moment to talk to me after the first introductions, and we chat for a little in Spanish and I asked a question about him, and he says something....  But I did not quite understand it... So he repeats it like 3 or 4 times, and then I think I start understanding that he is saying something about Satan?  So, my facial expression changes...  I was really confused why he was talking about Satan.  Then, finally, Hermana Morris turns to me and says "He is telling you that he is a member of the Quorum of the Seventy."  I felt so stupid....  So I said, "Well, let me shake your hand then!"  And then sat down to continue reading Preach My Gospel.  My poor husband... He is not going to be able to take me anywhere.



Oh, the story about that bread baby.  It is for the Day of the Dead down here, so all the bakeries are making them.  And every time we walk by one, I always say that I am going to buy one someday.  Well, apparently, Hermana Morris got sick of hearing that, because she bought me that one today...  It was pretty good.  Hermana Morris say it was the best bread she had in Ecuador.... I am not so sure about that.



Remember that little Preach My Gospel in Spanish?  Well, everyone loves it and asks me if they can hold it when I pull it out in district meetings.  My companion, Hermana Cantos, finally decided to take it to a print shop and see if they could do something like that for her.  Guess how much it would cost her?  Seventy seven dollars!!  Wow, right?!



Speaking of Hermana Cantos, the other day, we were waiting for a bus to take us home for the night on top of a hill.  Herman Morris and I were bored, so we pulled out those bouncy balls you sent to me and started to throw them down the hill as hard as we could.  Hermana Cantos nearly had a heart attack.  She was so confused why we would waste such "beautiful things" like that.  She wanted us to give them all to her.  I promised her that I would give her the ones I still had at home, and we continued our game.  Hermana Cantos has recently discovered static electricity and that you do not need to tape envelopes, you can just lick them.  I remember when she first noticed static, she came up to me worried, and said, "Hermana, I do not know what is happening, I have some kind of force around me."  I thought she was just joking, but she wasn't.  This worry continued for like 3 more days. She is the greatest.



Thank you for the birthday package!!  The coat mostly fits, it is just kind of big, my companions said that it is really cute, but that I need to have someone take it in before I wear it.  I really like it though!!  THANK YOU!!!

Last p day, we went to the park, and we climbed a tree thing (see pictures).  Well, when I got up, I could not get down because they tree was so slippery and my Toms have no traction.  So, I was up there yelling, "Yo necesito un milagro!!"  Some ladies standing around really got a kick out of it (see other photo where I am on the ground and safe with two ladies) and one climbed up to help me down.  Really, the tree wasn´t even that high... I ended up jumping after I had my dramatic moment.  They were really nice. 


 




So, with Andy...  HE WANTS TO SERVE A MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!  I cannot tell you how proud I am of that kid!!  He is the greatest!  I just love watching him progress!  This past week, we had another appointment with him and our Zone Leaders about the Priesthood.  It was the best lesson of my entire mission.  After the lesson, one of our leaders said, "I do not know if you Hermanas knew what the Lord was doing when he called you to this sector, but you are here for Andy.  One day I expect to hear a General Conference talk from him."  Really, Andy is amazing!!  He has such a love for the gospel and especially for missionary work!!  It is the greatest learning about the gospel with him.

The family Bayas, remember them?  They are great as well.  We were over at their house the other night meeting with the mom, Evon, and Jonathan walks in and Evon tells him that we are talking about Joseph Smith.  Jonathan asks who Joseph Smith is, and his mom turns to him and say, "Joseph Smith is a prophet called by God.  You need to listen to the Hermanas."  Then we help her daughter... Uh... I forgot her name....  with her English.  She has to speak English in a play at school, so we were all acting out her lines as dramatically as we could, then Jonathan started dancing like the man on Fiddler on the Roof...  The play is about King Arthur though...  So I do not know what he was thinking.

Speaking of young men named Jonathan... Mom, you met Jonathan P?  At first, I did not know who you were talking about, but it came to me.... I remember him now.  I am glad he is doing well.  Hopefully he had a good mission.  And hopefully you did not creep him out too much? Or the other way around :)

And will you please tell President Kennison that if coming home means eating his salmon then I am staying out here as long as I possibly can!!!  Just kidding.  Don´t say that... I don´t want him to know how disrespectful I am.  And, really, his salmon wasn´t even bad... Ha ha.

I hope you all have a great week!!

I love you all very much!!!

Hermana Stacia Ellis






Saturday, October 13, 2012

Computer Problems

Okay. 

My computer is going insane, as always.  And I just lost all of what I wrote to you about one of our greatest investigators.  I am pretty upset about it.

This week started out by our investigator, Andy, telling us that he had talked to his parents about being baptized, and they went crazy about it.  He was nearly in tears and he told us he did not know what to do.  So this week we spend a lot of our time worrying and fasting and praying and thinking about his situation.  He cancelled his appointment with us on Wednesday and we thought we were doomed.  But then this morning he called us and told us that he had talked to his parents again and they said they would support his decision!!  He is still going to wait until he is 18, which is next month, but he feels so much better about it.  And said that he feels that God played a part in this because families are important to his plan.  Oh, Andy is amazing.

Sorry, I am so upset about this computer that I cannot think of anything else to write.  I am going to ask the man if I can switch.  Hold on...




We found this little Mexican food restaurant.  Yes, food that finally has flavor.  I was so excited that I had to just walk into it.  And it is a good thing I did.  They gave us free nachos and said we could teach them the gospel.  What a win-win situation.

It rains so much, and I just love it.  I never want it to end.  All my companions hate it.  

I can only write a little in every email.  I do not want to lost what I am writing.





Okay, well it looks like I just got cheated out of one of my emailing times.  Have a great week.  I will send my pictures next week or something.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rainy Season in Quito



Hello!!!!  I am back in Quito as of Tuesday evening, and it is pouring down rain every evening and I am in love (with the rain).

First of all, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes!!!  When I got on my email today, I just started giggling like a little school girl and could not stop saying ¨"I am so happy!!"  This week has been the best!!  I got the package with the cayenne (Thank you!!), the other package you sent in actually in the coast right now, I hope I can get it within the next week or so.  And Kristen Holman, tell her thank you so much for her package!!  She is the best!!

The night before my birthday, I was talking to Hermana Morris and I told her that the thing I was going to miss the most about my birthday was waking up to a Happy Birthday text message - so pathetic.  The morning of my birthday, we woke up, and Hermana Morris and I were talking about a dream or something when her phone made a buzzing noise.  It was a member from the ward here asking Hermana Morris to tell me happy birthday from them.  My goodness!!  I should have wished for something better than a text message the night before!!! 

For my birthday, my companions, there are 5 of us sisters in the house right now in the Iñaquito sector, made me a cake and sang happy birthday to me in Spanish and English.  They are the best!!!  Then we had a Zone Conference and more singing and treats came from that.  After the conference, an elder from St. George came up to me and said, "Hermana Ellis, do you have a coin purse?"  I told him that I did, and he asked if I wanted another.  Uh... Before I could answer, he took out his nice leather coin purse, emptied out all his money and gave it to me.  I told him I could not accept it, but he refused to take it back.  This elder is the best, we bond over our homeschooling experiences. 

And then my night ended with the BEST missionary experience!!!!
The night before my birthday it was pouring rain and it was time to go home, and my companion, Hermana Morris was talking to a Catholic man about our religion, but I missed the first part of the conversation and I was not following so I was just standing in the rain with my umbrella smiling like I sometimes do.  I know, I am a creep.  Anyway, this young man (21 years old) walks past, and says something about God.  I started talking with him, and he happened to be the biggest flirt and said he was interested in the church.  I had my doubts, and usually when guys flirt with me, I do not take down their information because I do not want to visit them.  But I felt that I should this time, so I did.

The next day, my birthday, all our appointments fell through, so we were sitting down on the sidewalk thinking about what we should do when Hermana Morris says, "We should call Jonathan."  So we called him.  He told us that we could visit in 30 minutes, so we contacted along the way to his house.  When we got there, he was alone, so we sat out on the porch teaching him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Just as it was getting really cold outside, his family came home, and we finished the lesson inside with all of them.  At the end of the lesson, we extended a baptismal date and THEY ACCEPTED!!!  It was such a good lesson.  His mother is such a good person.  The whole family is amazing.  I am just so impressed.  His mother told us that he night before, Jonathan came home and told her that he met some happy North Americans and they wanted to visit their family.

As we were walking home, I turned to Hermana Morris and said, "A family has a baptismal date because I contacted one young guy."  And then I realized that I had not even contacted him, he had contacted me.  The next morning, Hermana Morris woke up and said, "Hermana Ellis, I am so thankful for your smile."  I thought she was being sarcastic because, let´s face it, I am not a morning person, but then she added, that because of it, we have a family with a baptism date.  Smiling like a creep pays off here in Ecuador!!

Now, before I forget, before I left the coast, a member, her name is Marisol, served us fish and shrimp the last day I was there.  I had no idea how to eat it because we aren´t really a fish eating family, because of you, Mom.  And so I told her that.  At the end of the meal, she told me when I am done with my mission that I need to come back and stay with her and bring my whole family and she is going to make fish for you, Mom.  Marisol is the best!!  She is actually about my age, just married, and lives about two blocks from the beach.  So, just plan for that, okay?  Fish dinner at Marisol´s house in like 13 months.  And the fish was good.  The shrimp I could have lived without.

And, now about conference.  
This morning, Hermana Morris and I went over to the apartment of Hermana Thomas, a senior sister missionary here and had a real conference breakfast.  It reminded me of home.  It was so great.  And with conference, we watch it IN ENGLISH (thank goodness) at the chapel here.  The announcement about missionary work was so shocking!!!  Eighteen for boys and nineteen for girls?!  I think that is amazing!!  I think missionary work is the best!!   And I love that they lowered the ages... But now I feel old.  I love conference.

Andy, our English speaking investigator came to conference and loved it!  Andy is the best.  He is so strong and is a missionary already!  He invites his friends to church and says that even though he does not have plans to get baptized until November, he feels a responsibility to share this message that brings him so much happiness and joy with others.  I wish everyone in the church was like Andy in that aspect.

Let´s see... What else do you want to know?  
I am going to try to send letters home this week.  I have not really sent any actual letters since I have been here in Ecuador.

Everything is great!!  I just love it here.
I hope you all have a great week!!!

Hermana Ellis

Monday, October 1, 2012

Earthquake Number Three (The Highlight of My Week)



Hermana Rodrigez and I are crazy about the beach.


Middle of nowhere contacting.
 I do not even know what to write.  So I guess I will start with a little experience I had on the bus the other day.  I was just sitting here when I felt someone behind me start giving me a head massage.  A few seconds went by before I realized that my companions were not behind me and someone I did not know in South America was touching my head. I slowly turned around, and I can only imagine the horrified look on my face, to see an old, nearly toothless man smiling back at me with a scalp massager in his hand.  He asked me to read him something in English and then got off the bus...  It was so weird.

Yesterday, during church, the Branch President was talking when all the sudden the ground started swaying.  What?  My companion and I were so confused.  Then the swaying turned into shaking and it got stronger and stronger.  The members got really worried, and I do not blame them.  The Branch President kept saying, "Brothers and sisters, calm down, we are in the house of the Lord." (except in Spanish).  But some members RAN out of the building.  It was terrifying the way they all acted.  Luckily, the earthquake stopped and everyone settled down and we finished the meeting.  We meet on the second floor of a concrete building in Atacames, and it is probably the last place I would want to be if there was a huge earthquake.  But, the President was right, we were in the house of the Lord, and he would protect us.  So, yeah, do not worry about that... The Lord will protect us... At least that is what my companions and I keep telling each other.

We are teaching this "family," they are not married, but live together.  The lady, we will call her A, is 36 years old, and the man, we will call him E, is 18 years old.  Oh, wait, no... He turns 18 in December.  Yeah, I know what you are thinking... And the shocker is that they have been together for a whole SIX years.  Whaaat?!  But, really, they are the greatest people.  They are very sincere and want to follow the example of the Lord and be baptized, and they are willing to separate to do that, because the young man does not want to get married.  Hopefully, in the coming month, they can really start progressing.  I have heard a little rumor that he wants to actually serve a mission in the future.

Another lady we found is named Enriqueta, she has so much pain in her life.  One day, after telling us about what was going on in her life, she said, "I need your council!!"  This lady is in her 60´s and she is looking to us, 22 year-olds for council.  I know it is because the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace into the lives of those that accept it, and us as missionaries are examples of that.

This week has been a little tough, and I have had a horrible attitude, but I think that it will be okay. 

When are you going to send me a picture of Julie´s ring?

Have a great week.


Hermana Ellis



We took a picture of one of our investiagtor´s dinner before they prepared it.